Tyler Staley had seven points in Wednesday’s loss

Mitchell denies Polk shot at WHC’s automatic 1A playoff berth

Mitchell spoiled Polk County’s hopes for an automatic bid to the 1A state playoffs, handing the Wolverines a 62-53 defeat Wednesday in Bakersville.

The Mountaineers (8-5, 7-3) wrapped up second place in the Western Highlands Conference and the league’s top 1A seed, earning a berth in the 32-team field that will begin play next week.

Under the playoff rules in effect for this season, there are 14 automatic qualifiers in the 1A West bracket, leaving just two wild cards. Polk County (6-4, 5-4) is considered a longshot for one of those berths. The full field will be announced Sunday.

The Wolverines conclude their regular season on Friday at Madison.

The two teams reached halftime deadlocked at 24-24, but the Mountaineers inched ahead to a three-point lead at the end of the third period, then extended that lead to six midway through the fourth period and largely kept it there in the final minutes.

Dominique Carson had 20 points for Polk County, with Tyler Staley and Shaq Wingo each adding seven. Bryson Edwards had six points, with Wesley Royster, Brett Bagwell and Kanye Staley each scoring four.

Chan Barber added a point for the Wolverines.